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Cyber Snipa Sonar 5.1 USB Headset


Author:  Ian Garris
Date:  2009.03.02
Topic:  Audio
Provider:  Cyber Snipa
Manufacturer:  Cyber Snipa






Introduction

For those who have never attempted to play with proper positional audio, imagine playing a round of your favorite first person shooter like Call Of Duty 4. But it's not just any round, you have a mystical Zen sense for everything behind, off to the sides, and approaching through cover - you are the master of your domain, sending rockets to burst in midair, grenades to bounce around corners, and incandescent tungsten skewers to impale that which you have not even yet seen. This is how it feels your first time playing with good headphones against players lacking this simple advantage. You have either sampled this power, or heard it spoken of (at least you have by now!) and you want it. (Who wouldn't?!) So here we have the Cyber Snipa Sonar 5.1 USB headset - another apparently solid entry in this rapidly growing market - but how does it stack up?

Packaging

The packaging is fairly nice, but just a bit cheap feeling - not enough to detract from the headphones themselves, but I don't think I could repack them the way they were from the factory. This is about par for the course, but we've seen some packaging that is just downright impressive, and while they could have scored some extra points here it feels like Cyber Snipa just didn't try. In the end though this review is about the product not the boxing, and the $$$ that Cyber Snipa saved on the packaging may have been passed on as savings to you.

Specifications

Connectivity
Connection: USB
Cord Length: 3.0m
Microphone
Microphone Dimensions: 09.7mmx5.0mm
Sensitivity: -39dB±dB
Directivity: Unidirectional
Impedance: 2.2 kilohms
Speakers
Front Center Rear Sub woofer
Driver Diameter 30mm 40mm 30mm 27mm
Impedance 32 ohms 32 ohms 32 ohms 8 ohms
Frequency Response 20~20KHz 18~20KHz 20~20KHz 10~400Hz
Output power 200 mW 400 mW 200m mW 600 mW
Signal to noise ratio 50dB 50dB 50dB 50dB
Total Harmonic Distortion 0.4% 0.1% 0.4% 1%
Sensitivity (S.P.L) 108dB 100dB 108dB (not provided)

Let's take a look at what Cyber Snipa has to say about these bad boys. Taking it from the top, it's a USB headset - meaning it has an integrated USB sound card somewhere. In this case, it's about two and a half feet down the cable from your left ear, this being the only earcup to which the cable attaches - single-ear cables are a nice touch that we're coming to expect on nice headphones, and at this price point, probably to be expected. A 3-meter cord - think 9 or 10 feet - should be plenty long enough, even if you have to plug into the back of your computer. It's what I do, and my desk is awfully awkward. The microphone is directional, helping to tune out noise while focusing on your voice, and otherwise well suited to its job. The speakers are smaller than expected - but there's four of them per ear. They're moderately sensitive, which should help filter out some noise, though you lose efficiency - but they're plenty powerful, and have a decent signal-to-noise ratio - these aren't studio monitors though, and it's plenty accurate for fast, accurate voice communication. Distortion is low, and the speakers are surprisingly powerful for all that - but speakers in general are horribly inefficient devices. Despite this, they get loud. Probably dangerous-to-hearing loud, as OSHA recommends not being exposed to these things, cranked, for more than a half hour per day.

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